James Syhabout was born in northeast Thailand and grew up in Oakland. He graduated from the California Culinary Academy in 1999 and became chef de cuisine at Manresa with David Kinch. Along the way he worked in some of the best kitchens in the world, including at The Fat Duck and Daniel Patterson's Coi, and spent a season at El Bulli. In 2009 he opened his first restaurant, Oakland's Commis, which holds two Michelin stars. He opened Hawker Fare in Oakland in 2011 and in San Francisco in 2015. He's also co-owner of Old Kan Beer and Co. and the founder of Hawking Bird, both in Oakland. John Birdsall is a food writer and ex-restaurant cook who lives in Oakland. He's received two James Beard Awards for food and culture writing, and is currently working on a new biography of James Beard.
"[An] outstanding debut...Mouthwatering...This is an eye-opening guide to a little-known cuisine."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)